China has pledged to fill the global infrastructure development gap with more than US$4 trillion in “sustainable” projects through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). But China is not delivering on its promises of green and low carbon infrastructure so the initiative is facing a crisis of legitimacy.
According to a recent report from the World Resources Institute, about 75% of the US$145 billion in loans from China’s major financing institutions went to fossil fuel energy projects, including US$10 billion for coal plants. The report also outlined how almost all investments in the construction of fossil-fuel power were state-owned enterprises. In contrast, private Chinese companies, which have much smaller investment footprints, have focused on solar and wind.